Oyster Stout comes to the rescue

Terry Cringle

Terry Cringle

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THE spectacular history of Castletown Brewery’s Oyster Stout continues.

Sixty-three years ago it literally flew into the world headlines in a compelling shipwreck saga involving an American freighter called ‘The Flying Enterprise’ and her master, Captain Kurt Carlson.

She suffered severe damage in bad weather in the English Channel which left her floating helplessly with a list of 65 degrees off Falmouth.

Her crew and passengers were taken off. But Carlson opted to stay on board alone to defend his ship and its valuable cargo against salvage companies.

Attempts to take her under tow were foiled by the weather and the mate of the tug Turmoil, Kenneth Dancy, volunteered to go aboard and help Carlson. This was when Oyster Stout appeared in the story.

Newspaper archives in the iMusem tell us that the Examiner of January 11, 1952 reported that John Pickard, Castletown Brewery’s export manager stationed in London, organised an airdrop of six crates of Oyster Stout to help Carlson and Dancy through their lonely ordeal.

Three of these did land on board the ship from a newspaper aircraft.

The others fell into the sea but were picked up by a fishing boat and put on board the Flying Enterprise.

The job was done, the news media loved it and so, of course, did Castletown Brewery.

But Carlson’s determination to see his ship home safely ended when she sank on January 10, 1952, and he and Dancy were taken off. It was presumed that the Oyster Stout had been drunk.

Meanwhile the Examiner found another Manx connection.

It reported that a man called Alf Parker living on Douglas Head Road was a brother of the captain of the tug Turmoil who knew of the Isle of Man, having arrived here during Second World War service with the royal Navy as a lieutenant commander.

Alf Parker himself had moved to the Isle of Man to live and married Doris Heaton, part-owner of the Camera Obscura on Douglas Head.

He worked for the Steam Packet Company as a cargo worker.

All this information has come my way through research by Dave Collister of Malew Street, Castletown, a former employee of Castletown Brewery who is writing a book about some of the lesser known elements of the history of the company. He is currently hoping to find a publisher for it.It should make a tasty read.

CROSSWORD clues are still in short supply but Sara Goodwins sends one from the Sunday Telegraph general knowledge crossword as follows: ‘European seabird with black and white plumage (4 10).

FRANK Bond says the Yorkshire Post reported: ‘Tensions between Moscow and Ankara have been heightened since a Turkey downed a Russian warplane.’ Frank says:

‘It seems turkeys are fighting back this Christmas.’

ANDREW Kerr-Phillips reports the following in the Isle of Man Courier: ‘This week’s Examiner included lots of photos of the effect of the flooding on the island. It is still in the shops.’

Well, at least it’s still and not sloshing around.

CROSSWORD: Manx Shearwater

MY Funnies File reveals that gossip columnist Fenella reported in the Examiner: ‘Progressing well after a major operation in Noble’s Park is Mr Dennis Jeavons who is hoping to return home this week.’

The fresh air must have been good for him.

SILLY SIGN. This was in an office. ‘ Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.’

l Read Terry Cringle’s Times Past on pages 20 and 21 of this edition of the Isle of Man Examiner.

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